The north will only maximise its full potential with the participation of all its people, including Indigenous Australians so their involvement in the northern agenda is critical.
In an important step forward, Indigenous leaders from the north attended the 2017 Ministerial Forum on Northern Development where talks focused on support for Indigenous business growth and innovation.
To boost opportunities for Indigenous workers and businesses, the Australian Government has mandatory Indigenous procurement and employment targets for all road projects funded through the White Paper to encourage the creation of Indigenous jobs and the use of Indigenous suppliers.
Land arrangements to support investment
Supporting Indigenous entrepreneurs and businesses is a priority and opportunities are being opened up for Indigenous Australians to benefit economically from their land.
There are eight land tenure reform pilots operating across northern Australia. One project is supporting the Baniyala community in northeast Arnhem Land. The community has developed new land management and home ownership practices and has taken up economic development opportunities. Local decision making has been strengthened to support development.
In Queensland land tenure resolution is underway on Moa Island and Mossman Gorge. The National Native Title Council is also preparing case studies of the development of Indigenous land related resources.
Read more about Indigenous land tenure reform pilots on the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet website.
Township leasing is helping to provide a strong foundation for increased economic activity and intergenerational wealth in towns on Aboriginal land. It involves granting a head lease over the whole community, encouraging local decision making, streamlining land administration and decision making in commercial timeframes.
A number of communities in the Northern Territory have negotiated township leases in 2017 and are seeing the real-time benefits of economic activity—Mutitjulu in Central Australia, Pirlangimpi on the Tiwi Islands and the Binjari housing lease near Katherine. Work continues on the Gunyangara lease in northeast Arnhem Land, at Jabiru in Kakadu National Park and at Yarralin in the Victoria Daly region.
Read more about township leasing on the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet website.
International investment opportunities
The Australian Trade and Investment Commission has delivered networking opportunities for international investors and Indigenous land holders. Consultants have assisted selected Indigenous landholders to become proponents for investment opportunities for international investors.
A register of investment opportunities on Indigenous land has been established and has been endorsed by Indigenous land holders. Business friendly, investor focused online guides to land tenure and native title systems in northern Australia have been produced and provide investors with valuable information.
Read more on the investor focused guide to land tenure and Indigenous land arrangements on the Austrade website.
The clean, pest and disease free status of Australia is one of our greatest assets and gives us a competitive edge in a global market where quality and safety is highly valued. The Australian Government has invested $200 million for biosecurity across Australia to our protect farmers and all Australians.
It includes support to ensure our northern barrier remains intact and is investing $12.4 million to expand Indigenous ranger biosecurity activities in northern Australia. Sixty-nine skilled ranger groups are now playing a vital biosecurity role, with many located along coastlines in very remote areas.
Read more about support for northern Indigenous rangers undertaking biosecurity work on the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources website.